Belle Isle is owned by the Duke of Abercorn, and magically situated on one of eleven islands on Upper Lough Erne that are owned by the Estate; the original castle dates back to 1680 and has mid-19th century additions, including a courtyard and coach house which have been converted to make appealing self-catering accommodation.
The castle itself has a delightfully exclusive away-from-it-all country house atmosphere and is impressively furnished with antiques, striking paintings and dramatic colour schemes (the work of the internationally renowned interior designer, David Hicks); in addition to the eight romantic bedrooms, which all have their special character, guests have use of a magnificent drawing room and also the Grand Hall, complete with minstrels’ gallery, where dinner is served.
Under the eagle-eyed supervision of hosts Charles and Fiona Plunket, maintenance and housekeeping are immaculate throughout - and full central heating has recently been installed in the dining room and the four bedrooms above it. This romantic place could be the perfect choice for a small wedding: they are licensed to hold civil weddings and the courtyard accommodation is available to guests.
There are many wonderful things to do in this idyllically beautiful area - fishing is an obvious first choice but there are also golf courses nearby, field sports can be arranged and there are historic houses and gardens to visit.
But, most tempting of all, perhaps, might be a course at the very successful Belle Isle School of Cookery, which is operated with impressive professionalism and offers an extensive range of courses of varying lengths throughout the year. [Cookery School: Tel 028 6638 7231; www.irishcookeryschool.com]